Illinois Sees New Online Casino Gambling Bill Submitted

State Rep. Bob Rita has pitched HB3142 or the Internet Gaming Act to seek and introduce legal online casino gambling in the state of Illinois.

Illinois HB3142 Pushes for Legalized Online Casino Gaming

With the Illinois sports betting industry booming, the state has not yet passed a bill that allows it to legalize online casino games or poker. This may as well be the case but a renewed push from State Rep. Bob Rita could change that.

Thanks to a new piece of legislation introduced by Rita, the state may be looking down the path of iGaming and online poker. Online casinos alone give legislators a strong financial incentive to pursue legalization as they contribute bigger results to tax purses in states where they have been legalized.

HB3142 or the Internet Gaming Act as the legislation is known argues that casinos and racetracks can apply for interactive gambling licenses in exchange for a $500,000 fee. Similar to Pennsylvania, each venue would be able to claim up to three skins.

Rita proposes iGaming taxation to match that for sports betting, which is 12% on profits. Moving forth with an online gambling framework makes sense. For one, the industry is easily far more lucrative than sports betting.

At a time when states are looking up to make up for revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, iGaming could be another lifeline. Illinois generated $12.3 million in tax revenue in December alone, but iGaming should contribute even more.

No Smooth Sailing for Gambling Legalization in IL

Despite the financial crisis, there is no guarantee that legislators or even residents would pounce at the idea of legalizing the iGaming industry. If anything, there are numerous state bodies as well as businesses that fear the bill would be potentially ruinous, both from an economic and societal standpoint.

Then again, a refusal doesn’t change the fact that a new Fair Tax is threatening to bite into the wealthiest state residents nor that Gov. J.B. Pritzker would seek to cut $700 million of funding to state agencies, leaving parts of the public sector underfunded.

Should HB3142 pass through all chambers of legislature successfully and is finally signed in by Gov. Pritzker, whose sentiments on the matter are not quite unambiguous, the Illinois Gaming Control Board would have 90 days to administer the Internet Gaming Act.

In doing so, the bill specifies that the regulator can use the already existing legislation for sports betting, making the necessary amendments to better match state needs and other precautions. On top of the three gaming skins allowed per venue, each Internet gaming license may also contact up to three Internet management service providers.

The bill makes a particular point of having the servers located in a highly-secured location that is off-limits for the general public. HB3142 follows common regulatory wisdom in outlining the gambling age as 21 and limiting remote gambling to only residents or individuals within the state borders.

License holders would need to pay $250,000 for renewals and also foot a $100,000 application fee to the board. Management service provider license applicants would need to pay $50,000 in application fees per license and have their license active for four years.

As to the license to operate iGaming, the validity of the license will coincide with the “requester’s owners license or organization license.” Meanwhile, the state’s casinos reopened on January 15 and have been running ever since.

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